Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Israel Elite Brigade Toll Climbs;Gaza Quagmire Deepens


"06/01/2009 …It’s the eleventh day of the Israeli offensive on Gaza and the fourth day of the ground operation. 11 days have passed and Israel has so failed to achieve any clear objective; a reason to dump all calls for ceasefire. On the ninth of January, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s term ends and on the twentieth of January US President Barack Obama takes the oath. Time is not in Israel’s favor as elections are a few weeks ahead. The political confusion has been reflected recently on the battleground in Gaza. Israeli elite soldiers are getting killed, at least 3 on Monday night alone and settlers are still haunted by Palestinian resistance rockets. Practically, nothing has changed in Gaza for Israel to save face. The stigma of Israel’s blood thirst in Gaza, however, adds another paragraph to the books of Israel’s reference to massacres.

At least 23 Palestinians were killed in shelling up and down the Gaza strip early on Tuesday. Israeli strikes hit two separate schools run by the United Nations in the Gaza Strip, killing at least five Palestinians, medics and UN officials said. Two people were killed in a strike on a school in the southern of Khan Yunis and three people were killed in an air strike on a school in Gaza City, they said. Both schools are run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.......

The death toll in Gaza rose to at least 575 martyrs and more than 2,780. Among Monday's 33 civilian victims were 13 members of a Palestinian family killed in an Israeli strike on their home in a refugee camp, Palestinian medical officials said.

Meanwhile, four Israeli soldiers from the elite Golani Brigade have been killed in Gaza Monday night according to Israeli media, bringing the number of Israeli soldiers killed in the ground offensive according to Israeli media sources to 5. 24 other soldiers were injured including the Golani Brigade commander Col. Avi Peled, whose injuries were described as serious, according to Israeli media. The Israeli story was that the soldiers came under friendly fire......

However the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, confirmed that at least ten soldiers have been killed and more than 30 others were injured in an ambush for resistance fighters. Qassam Brigades source said resistance fighters have brought gradually an elite unite of the Golani Brigade to a booby-trapped house in northern Gaza. The source added that when soldiers rammed into the house, it was blown up and resistance fighters then rained the trapped soldiers with bullets and grenades. Israeli helicopters evacuated the trapped soldiers under the cover of heavy fire and bombardment. The Qassam Brigades said it will unveil the details of this “special operation” later.......

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told lawmakers that Hamas had been dealt a heavy blow: "But we cannot say that its fighting capabilities have been harmed," he said. "Difficult moments lie ahead in this operation and the main test could still be ahead.""

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